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June 11, 1993 - Image 54

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-06-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Saudi King Speaks
Of Ending Arab War

New York (JTA) — Op-
timistic statements about
the prospect of peace with
Israel, made last week by
King Fand of Saudi Arabia
and Jordanian Prime Min-
ister Abdul Salam al-Majali,
represent a positive change
in attitude, according to
Israeli officials.
In a lengthy and wide-
ranging message to 2 million
Muslim pilgrims who came
to Mecca last week for the
annual Feast of the
Sacrifice, King Fand spoke
about the inevitability and
benefits of peace with Israel.
Despite the failure of nine
rounds of bilateral talks to
produce concrete results,
King Fand said that "the
continuation of the dialogue
indicates a mutual agree-
ment that there is no alter-
native to peace and that
there must be serious, real-
istic efforts to achieve this
just demand for all."
Mr. Majali went further,
saying: "I'm optimistic in
regard to the possibility of
achieving a peace treaty
between Israel and Jordan
before I end my term as the
temporary prime minister of
Jordan." His term is
scheduled to expire in
November.
Jordan has been negotia-
ting with Israel in the
bilateral talks in Washing-
ton, which are expected to
resume later this month.
Saudi Arabia is par-
ticipating in the
multilateral talks, concern-
ing regional issues, which
are also part of the process
launched in Madrid in the
fall of 1991.
These two statements, said
an Israeli official,
"demonstrate an important
shift within some quarters of
the Arab world, where peace
with Israel is no longer a dir-
ty word. It even shows a cer-
tain desire or yearning for
this, an understanding that
peace has more advantages
for the interest of the those
countries."
King Fand's remarks, said
the official, are particularly
significant, coming on the
occasion of the religious
pilgrimage.
But the official also cau-
tioned that the remarks
themselves "are definitely
not a breakthrough."
In his remarks, King Fand
said Saudi Arabia would
support any effort that
"contributes to ending the

state of war and enabling
the region to invest all its
resources and abilities in
construction, growth and
comprehensive develop-
ment, offering all the people
of the region prosperity after
years of bitter war and suc-
cessive losses amid slogans
that have cost us much and
achieved nothing."
King Fand's remarks were
not free from traditional at-
tacks on Israeli positions: He
placed the onus for the slow
pace of the talks on the
Israelis and spoke of the
priority of "the rights of the
Palestinian people." But at
the same time, he acknowl-
edged the need for "security
and peace for all."
"The facts of history prove
that conflicts and wars
achieve no victory and pro-
duce no gains," said the
king.
"The Israelis must be con-
vinced that the policy of ex-
pansion is no longer accep-
table to the international

Jordan has been
negotiating with
Israel in the
bilateral talks.

community, and that the
security guarantees it used
to demand continuously
cannot be achieved by ignor-
ing the rights of the Pales-
tinian people and continuing
hegemony, tyranny and the
occupation of the land, but
by peaceful coexistence bet-
ween neighboring states and
peoples."
Tom Smerling, director of
Project Nishma, a Jewish
organization that conducts
programs on security and
peace and is supportive of
the current peace process,
said the statements by King
Fand and Mr. Majali appear
to reflect changes under way
in the Arab world.
"There has been some
change in the way a number
of Arab governments talk
about Israel and talk about
peace," he said. "Clearly,
rhetoric isn't enough, but
this is where you have to
start.
"We've often said peace is <
impossible until the Arabs
moderate their rhetoric; this
suggests that they're doing
so, though unfortunately
they're continuing to make
many hostile statements."

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